Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
By Father Shawn Aaron, LC
John 8: 12-20
Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.” So they said to him, “Where is your father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the Temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Introductory Prayer: Father, you call your children to walk in the light of Christ. Free us from darkness and keep us in the radiance of your truth.
Petition: Lord, grant me the light of faith.
- I am the Light of the World: The world needs light. I need light. Christ came to teach us about his Father. His life is a beacon amidst the gloom and haze of a life without purpose. His testimony of life enlightens our minds, our hearts and our consciences. Jesus will one day say, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” I am the Way to the Father. All creation came to be through the one Word of the Father. But creation itself was marred by man’s sin. So the Word became flesh to make all things new. Therefore all creation must pass through Me if it is to reach its point of rest in My Father’s house. I am the Truth about God and about man. Look to Me, meditate on My life and you will discover the meaning, the purpose and the infinite value of your own life. From Me you will learn how to properly conduct yourself in relation to the Father and your neighbor. My truth gives light to your conscience especially in those moments of morally difficult decisions. I am Life itself, the source of your natural and supernatural life. “And this life became the light of men” (John 1:4).
- Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life: There are moments when this statement seems altogether untrue; moments in life when the soul seeking to follow Christ and to dedicate itself to extending God’s Kingdom ends up persecuted, alone and confused. Consider how Our Lady faced situations when she did not clearly comprehend God’s ways: Joseph’s decision to divorce her, the birth in a stable, the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents, the flight to Egypt, the child Jesus lost in the Temple, the trial, scourging, crucifixion and death of her son. It was precisely in this ‘darkness’ that the light of faith guided her “more surely than the noon-day sun” (St. John of the Cross). It is the light of this faith in the God that we do not see that enables us to love our brothers and sisters that we do see. It is the light of this faith that permits us to grasp the divine and human presence of Our Lord in the consecrated host. It is the light of this faith that allows us to find God’s image in each person from the moment of conception up until the last drawn breath, regardless of race, creed, physical or mental capacities. Faith, real and true faith, transforms our entire lives. Even when faced with the deepest solitude, the cruelest sickness, the bitterest moral pain, a soul that believes and lives in accord with faith feels intimately happy. It knows that with its suffering it shows its love for God, becomes more like Jesus Christ, and collaborates a little in the salvation of souls by joining its suffering with those of Jesus”.
- I know where I came from and where I am going: John’s Gospel insists on the total identity between the Father and the Son. Jesus does not “stumble upon” his identity nor does he just “happen to be” captured and crucified. ‘Though he was in the form of God he humbled himself and took the form of a slave” (Philippians 2) that we might “have life and have it fully” (John 10:10). He came to lay down his life so that he might put to death our sinful nature and take us up again in the newness of his life. As St. Irenaeus stated, “he recapitulates” all things in his person. The full self-knowledge of who he is reveals to us the boundless freedom of his love, a love that animates his every action, especially his death on the cross. Dying was his reason for living.
Dialogue with Christ: Dear Lord, in your light I see light. In your life I find the explanation of my own life. You are my meaning, my purpose and my lasting hope. You also know that the demands of daily living deeply affect my life. The tug and pull of the world constantly invite me down a path that, if followed, may one day separate me from you, my true joy. Grant me the light of faith and give me the grace to seek you generously and sincerely so that, united to you, I too may be light, salt and leaven for those I meet today. Mother of Purity, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: At least three times today I will stop what I am doing to lift my heart, my thoughts and my will to Jesus, reorienting my actions towards him.